Ursuline Academy

Also known as: Ursuline Centre
2300 Central Ave., Great Falls, Montana


By Robstutz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21817479




"The Sisters of the Order of St. Ursula came to Montana in 1884 to establish schools for Indians. When the homestead movement created a need for more urban educational facilities, the Great Falls Townsite Company offered the sisters any two city blocks. This site overlooking the city was chosen for its tranquility, removed from the bustle of the city’s center. In 1912, the Ursuline Academy opened its doors to day and boarding students of all denominations. The academy, a detached gymnasium, two shrines, and the grounds comprise the campus. Iconography by Sister Raphael Schweda graces the academy’s interior. Great Falls architect George Shanley chose the Collegiate Gothic style to reflect the academy’s commitment to learning and its ecclesiastical associations. But the building also represents the culmination of the Ursulines’ mission to bring education and culture to Montana’s youth. From a log cabin to this grand and noble institution of learning, the “lady black robes” have touched the lives of thousands of Montanans. The sisters continued their mission teaching at the academy until it became the Ursuline Centre in 1971. The sisters who reside within its lofty halls continue to serve in the community and graciously open their home to ecumenical activities." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 26, 1991
Reference number
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival; Other architectural type; Collegiate Gothic
Areas of significance
Landscape Architecture; Education; Architecture; Social History
Levels of significance
State; Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Religious structure; Church school; Church related residence
Current functions
Religious structure; Church school; Church related residence
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant years
1911; 1925; 1927
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2
Contributing sites: 1
Contributing objects: 2

Update Log 

  • January 27, 2020: New photo from Bill Eichelberger
  • July 17, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information